I’m Gonna Make Money On eBay…NOT!

Last entry, we talked about product sourcing and finding stuff to sell.  That is a good starting point!  But the key to this all is:

“Where am I going to sell this stuff?”

Of course, this question probably came before you started to look for products to buy wholesale.  But it is an interesting question and one that requires a bit more thought than probably you have been told.


Gosh, the whole “Make Money on eBay” niche seems so 2005 to me.  Yet, you still see plenty of people hyping about the millions that you can make selling products on auction.  Let’s get something really clear here:

Selling on auction-sites as a business is tough.

This is one of the most over-saturated markets to sell anything in.  This works well for three different types of people:

  • Selling used stuff
  • Selling liquidated and extreme wholesale products
  • Lead generation

The first one is really the intention of eBay…sell your old stuff for money.  Kind of like a domestic Craigslist.  Profits are good but typically stock is low.  Unless you run a consignment-type business or a pawn shop, your inventory is going to be tough to keep up.

The second one is buying extremely low cost products.  There are still some niches out there that you can make a profit on wholesale-sourced products.  Usually this is few and far between and if competition rears its ugly head, you might be in for a price war (usually resulting in you losing!).  Other people have exclusive rights to sell specific products at lower rates than the public.  Again, no competion results in huge gains.

Last is lead generation.  This is the game I have played over the years and it works well.  The problem here is that you really aren’t selling anything for profit!  Yes, you heard me…you typically LOSE money this way on auctions…but gain business elsewhere.  Personally, I see this as the only real fundamental and sustainable way to use auctions to make money.

For example, let’s say that I sell fishing equipment somewhere else on the internet and I am looking for customers.  Why not buy a bunch of fishing tackles wholesale and sell them LESS than what you paid online?  People like it because they want a deal (exactly why they are on the auction site in the first place) and you will like it because you know they are great fishing leads.  At this point, you make sure you deliver promptly, throw in a coupon and thank them for their purchase.  You can also get them to opt-in to your sales funnel, too.

This works. 

And frankly, I see it as the only way to run a business on auction sites these days.  I’m open to hear your thoughts (and I assume there will be stories to contradict this, but there are not many any more).

Is this your path to selling stuff online, maybe…but it isn’t a direct way to do it!  I have more ideas up my sleave…just wait!


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